Wiltshire

Life project aims to help 350 families in Swindon

Depressed man (generic)
Image caption The Life Project aims to help deprived families with social and economic problems.

A social care project in Swindon has set itself a target to help 350 families over the next three years.

The Life scheme which began in 2008 has so far helped 14 deprived families with social and economic issues.

Project leader, Sue Wald, said: "We want to take the learning from Life and other programmes and roll it out to all of our workers working with families."

About £400,000 has been set aside for next year but it is hoped this new approach will make long-term savings.

The plan is to gradually reduce the number of workers involved with each family from social services, youth offending teams and mental health services.

"By investing some time and effort into looking how we work differently and how we work together, we can over time reduce the amount of people involved, because we want to bring it down to two or three key professionals as opposed to six or seven but who are not working so intensively.

"It might cause pressure for an organisation for a short period of time as we are rolling it out, but we hope to reach all families by 2015," said Mrs Wald, the joint director for strategy and communication at Swindon Borough Council and NHS Swindon.

A consulting firm employed by the council has estimated that in 2010, £760,000 was saved across the public sector in Swindon.

This took into account factors such as the cost of child protection orders, police and social worker call-outs, truancy and the legal costs of eviction orders.

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